Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Pounding the Pavements.

Sightseeing a different way.

Like any new start at work or business, we are putting a lot of effort into trying to find the best way to reach prospective clients. Through trial and error we found that handing out flyers is having good results.

Most mornings Bob and I get geared up to do the rounds in the different villages in the area. By geared up I mean lots of sunscreen, comfortable shoes, cap and a good attitude !

Most villages in Burgenland, are built along the roads. Very scenic but also deceptive as you don't realize how big they actually are. Handing out our flyers is the best way to explore the villages. When I started walking around the various villages, I got to see that they have lots of houses and farms unseen from the main road.
Often I stop and take in the beauty of a lot of these properties and its gardens. Especially in summer, the green lawns contrasted with reds and pinks of the various roses and maybe a few fruit trees, are a gem to behold.

The odd time it can be a bit scary, like yesterday. As I was putting the flyer through the postbox flap, a white Doberman launched himself of his spot in the shade and loudly barking flew at the fence to do his bit of work. Normally dogs don't phase me, but as the fence was only waist high and his paws were on the top of it already, I decided to beat a rather hasty retreat ! A couple of men in the garden next door must have had a good chuckle....


Monday, 30 July 2012

Chicken Whisperer !

Sunday afternoons have surprising events...

Late Sunday afternoon the most horrendous looking clouds, or rather sky, gathered over us. Bob and I had never seen anything like it. Somehow it looked just like a scene from " Independence Day ". We battened down the Hatches, closing all and any window, unplugging TV and computer and sat down to watch the spectacle. But nature was kind and it was just a normal little storm in the end.

Relieved I went to the front bedroom to look out when I spotted our new neighbour wandering the grass verge across from us.
" Bob, quickly have a look at Werner's Chicken. " Having a look, Bob instantly swung into action.
" Come with me and help me herd it back home. "
Are chickens " herd-able ", I wondered but gave him the benefit of the doubt and followed him outside.

Turns out I need not have bothered, as Bob was next to the very tame chicken and talking to it. I sprinted inside for the camera and just arrived in time to see Bob walking and leading the chicken back to its abode. She even stood obediently while Bob opened the gate and like a good girl toddled off inside. That was the cutest thing I had seen in a long time.
My husband was extremely chuffed that he got her home without any grabbing, running or lost feathers !

As a lot of chickens here look the same, let's hope that it was one of Werner's lot, otherwise there will be extremely happy Rooster next door.


Quite something

Isn't this precious ?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Artists exhibition on Eberau Square.

What a wonderful Saturday afternoon.

Bob and I have been walking around the different villages, handing out our business flyers. That's how we got to talking to one of the artists from Eberau and she invited us to come along to the exhibition. We were chuffed.

Yesterday afternoon, together with my parents we set out and drove there. Eberau has this great village square ( I know because my favourite ice Cream/Coffee Shop is there...) and they went all out to display their Art all around it. Wow, they made it invitingly interesting. Local Restaurants had set up tables and the atmosphere was sparkling, fun and relaxed.

For months we have been seeing festively painted wine barrels all over the area. Those fabulous Artists had created them. When you drive past one, it always puts a happy smile on your face.

For Bob and I the most amazing thing was that one of the Artists, Cathy, is actually from South-Africa but has lived in Austria for yonks ! She took us to a table with all her family and suddenly we were this English speaking oasis on the square. As she had family out on holiday the table was delightfully fun and interesting.

What struck me, is that just about everyone who has moved here to our part of Burgenland, loves it as much as we do and would not even leave it to go on holiday somewhere else ! Burgenland is fantastic and the place to be...


Looking onto the Square

Aren't those colours nice ?

Reminds me of Tigger. She would look good dangling over this chair !

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Finally the Olympic Games have arrived !

Wow, what a ceremony

We both tried valiantly to stay awake in anticipation of the opening Ceremony. Here it was only broadcast at 10 pm. Somehow with a few nudges and " Wake-up's " we made it.
It took a bit of time to understand what they were portraying, but once I got the gist of it, it was great. Just awesome, all the co-ordination, costumes and timing !

Of course my favourite was the " James Bond " incident.... watching the news this morning, I realized that I must have dozed of a few times, as I did not see David Beckham nor Paul McCartney. Bummer.
Was this theatrical performance maybe a sign of us shifting back to gentler times ? In a way, I thought that there would be some " disco-esque " ( yes, showing my age ) type of performance, with maybe something " computer-esque " thrown in for good measure. But this was really pleasing to the eye and also thought provoking.

It will be an exciting 2 weeks of sports. Of course some of the TV networks, who can't show the Olympics, will put on programmes that will tempt us to no end into switching the channel !
Oh and I am sure that there will be many " temporary " resolutions to get fit...


Friday, 27 July 2012

Really Guys, we are on to you !

Doing the rounds...

Bob has been helping my folks out with the cutting the lawn at their Kellerstoeckl. In the beginning he had to drive into the village to get the trailer with the lawn mowing equipment and vice versa on completion. Since last month he got sole " keepership" of the trailer and lawn mower. He is now extremely organized and conscientious. Giving responsibilty actually works well.

Yesterday afternoon was mowing day and as I was at a loose end, I decided to go with him.
Off we go, driving along the back roads which are also a cyclists paradise. About halfway in, there were two young ladies ahead of us. They were on their bicycles and as it was a hot day, clad in slightly wanting clothes ! ( The men will know what I mean )

Bob skillfully negotiated the drive past and around them but then did the age-old male thing...he checked them out in the rear view mirrow ! Does he think I am blind and that I would not notice ? To top it off, he nearly drove into the ditch being too busy looking!
" Bob stop looking and watch the road " maybe not the most tactful marital sentence, but his took the cake.
" I am not looking at them. Just checking that I passed them properly." Mind you the next bit really was priceless : " Anyway they're too young and not my type ! "

Too scared to look up in case I saw pigs fly, I just hankered down and hurrumpfed.
Do the men seriously think that we women are not on to them ?
The well used phrase of ' she is not my type / you are much more pretty ' ( which men use for code of ' she is smoking / why can't mine look like that ' ) are just so silly, predictable and actually laughable...Et tu, Bob ?


Thursday, 26 July 2012

" Rigged "

The Big B

There was a survey on a CNN show, asking why with such high unemployment there are still
200 000 Trucker jobs not filled ? Quite frankly, I would not mind doing it.

It would be cool learning how to handle such a big Rig. Can you imagine driving a vehicle with more than four tyres ? Groovy...
But what I would really like to learn is Tractor driving. Before moving here, it was not an issue, but now you can see tractors everywhere and it is so enticing.

The skill with which these drivers zoot around is jaw-droppingly amazing. These machines are really quite cumbersome and big, yet they sit in their cabs and wield the tractors with sometimes even just one hand ( Often I see them on their cellphone - not sure if it's legal to answer the cell ). At times I imagine driving one of these tractors across the fields doing what needs to be done ! Pipe dreams, as I can not even reverse our car with a trailer attached to it. That feat definitely looks easier than it is. Our next visitor will have to teach me ( a little birdy told me he used to drive a fork lift..close enough ).

Driving a tractor in the country side looks easy, which is just as well. A few villagers use their tractors as ordinary vehicles around the village to do errands. Rather convenient for them, but still...

My personal favourite are some of the older ladies in our village. They were raised here and could drive a tractor before they even went to school. So they drive their tractor to the local grocery shop. Yes, they go shopping with the tractor ! If we pass them on the road we do the Nod ! But when we drive behind them sometimes, we can see into the little basket on the back. This takes checking out what the neighbours bought to a new level ! How cool is that ?

Should I ever become a tractor or truck driver my call sign will be " The Big B ".


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The sanctified Schnapps ...

Bob has cracked the rarefied Nod !

The phone rang yesterday early morning and it was for Bob. Nosy and interested I asked what it was about.
" I have been invited to watch Bocci do the first stages of the Schnapps process. YoHooo !!!" As you can gather Bob was ecstatic. In our area a lot of Schnapps's are made, mainly Tresta ( local version of a Grappa ) because of the grapes, but also others such as apple, pear, peach or plumb Schnapps.

The Zoll ( Customs ) are very strict on who can make it. One of the criteria is to have an orchard. Luckily our back garden boasts at least 15 trees. All Bob needs is a licence and of course the Knowledge....! We have been so busy with the house and just adjusting, that we never considered it too seriously, but I know that Bob is so keen. Just the thought of offering his friends Schnapps with his name on the label, would be his ultimate fantasy ( well, maybe not ultimate !!! ).

Bocci is the " Grandmaster " of the Schnapps process and it is actually quite an honour that
" Newbee " Bob has been asked to watch. Possibly he will be sworn to secrecy !
From what I have seen, all the versions of the Schnapps' are in high demand. After a heavy meal the bottles are quickly whipped out and the little tot glasses filled. They are usually at least 42 % alcohol. I think with such potent stuff, eating lots of the local cuisine is necessary because without food it might be a tad too strong...

As I wanted to make a lot of Jams and Preserves this summer, there might be a slight domestic spat over who gets to use the fruit....


Work Galore....

Is this ready yet ?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Clean Air.

Everyone makes a difference !

Reading the Huffington Post last night, I stumbled upon an interesting article. Okay, it did help that a famous person wrote it and most likely I would have skimmed over it otherwise
( only being honest ). How often can you read an article written by an Icon...Paul McCartney, Beatle !!!

Of course he is only the " cover " of the book, but reading the content is rather alarming ( to do with global warming ). Often we think that our contribution to look after the enviroment won't make a difference. I rather think that if we all do just a small bit each day, it would have an immense positive outcome.

Our area here has been declared an enviromental zone. A lot of new ways to green the area are being implemented here. For a small example, we have to separate the rubbish into 4 components, which ( suprisingly ) posted a challenge for me in the begining. Plastics, Paper, Raw Food leftovers and Rest ( everything you can't place in any other bin ) rubbish. You won't believe how full the plastics gets. All the different bins are only picked up once a month ! I must say, sometimes the rest rubbish does pong a tad... Garden refuse is collected at a predefined place, and tree cuttings at another. The villages also produces some of their own heat for the winter ( not quite sure how that works, but it does ).

All this is so worth it, when you can actually smell the air - flowers, fruit trees, lavender, cut grass and endless other aromas. And it makes me feel so good doing something that makes a difference even so it would be easier just to toss everything into one bin...Try it at home !


Monday, 23 July 2012

Inflation of Sorts...

Only for the really young !

Someone told me about the new price set for the Tooth Fairy. Can you believe it, the front tooth already commands $ 10. The back Molars are very cheap at about a dollar each. Could this be a symptom of price and demand. We only have two big front tooth after all. Or is it to discourage industrious little ones pulling most of their teeth on purpose ?

Gosh, sadly I must admit, that I can not remember if the Tooth Fairy came to my house and how much my teeth commanded.
But I do remember what happened when some of my teeth were loose. All we needed then was a door handle, thread, a parent with nerves of steel and a " novice " me ( surely this could only be done once, for the surprise effect ). As I write this, I remember standing on the other side of this door with thread around a loose tooth. Promises of hard currency must have helped my participation. Possibly only a few Pfennings, but enough to buy a packet of sweets to speed along the next tooth demise !

It is funny, looking back now, my parents must have had a tough yet hilarious time bringing us up. Were they issued a manual about how to deal with loosing the milk teeth or did they pick up advice at various sources ? Parents, friends, books or pure inspiration ? Were we kids happy with whatever appeared under our pillow or did we command a set price ? The mind boggles.

One thing I do recall clearly is school-report card times. When I realized that money was given for various marks ( obviously not bad ones ) I did the rounds of all my family and most likely pocketed a fair deal...hopefully not out of pity !


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Day Two of the Mouse Story !

Fun and Games at our house...

So, all of yesterday we were busy organizing and executing our Mouse Hunt. How hard can it be ? Well you should try it, it is harder than it seems.

The cheese we put into the trap was definitely a higher grade one ( in fact my aunt coincidentally sent us a care packet of proper cheeses ), but obviously not up to scratch for our little rodent. Oh well, she has standards. All day long Bob and I kept checking up whether she had eaten it, to no avail. It is a little weird knowing that some little thing keeps buzzing around while you are sitting or just walking. Suddenly my gait is more precise in case I step on it or it attacks me !

Having gotten several " sightings " of her throughout the day, we went to a late lunch with my parents. My uncle was visiting and gave us more options for capture. But my mum just said,
" That piece of cheese is to big. Use some bacon because they like that more. "
" How do you know how big the piece is? " Laughingly she replied " I read your blog ".
As she cut us ( knowingly and with a smile ) five little pieces for five tries. How could she have known ???

When at home again, we set about Mouse-proofing our kitchen and Bob also set another trap, this time with delicious bacon. A little bickering ensued about where to place it but we eventually left it under the kitchen counter.

This morning I stepped very carefully from the bed onto the floor and then into the kitchen. Can you believe it, the little Bugger has eaten the bacon out of the trap. Must have thought we are feeding it delectables !. As I was inspecting this, I heard a noise behind me and lo and behold there she was running out from behind the fridge. As it was too early for me to to athletic stuff, I will let Bob do the catching later on.

Bottom line is that we have an intelligent mouse with good taste. Let's hope she does not send out invites to her mates....


Saturday, 21 July 2012

The big Mouse Hunt.

A new Lodger ?

Bob was sitting at his computer and saw a flash at the corner of his vision. When he looked up the he saw a wee mouse running on the floor. Well suddenly Bob was doing a dash, but of course he is no match for a little mouse !

As he told me this, I instantly looked down at my feet to see if it was running there ! " Bob do something. Catch it ! " " Schatzi, I am too slow for it, but it is so small it won't hurt you." Okay, what could we do. Bob had already poked around in the dubious corners with no success. All the cartoons come to mind, where the mouse sits in the hole laughing at us humans...

Just in case, I borrowed a mouse Trap from my mum. Bob tried to work out how to work it and all I heard was " %*&%* " - he'd nipped his fingertip ! But we got sidetracked with TV and didn't give it another thought.

We have a pull out couch ( very close to the floor ) which we use to lie down and veg. I was still watching a movie when suddenly I heard a noise coming from the kitchen. Definitely something strange. All the lights were off and with great care I ventured onto the floor to investigate. Waking up Bob ( mouse hunting is not a women's sport ) I asked him to check closer to source. You could hear a gnawing sound and some rustling too. Bob being all macho went straight up to the noise, while I hoped from foot to foot some distance away just in case it ran towards me...But after half an hour of checking and searching we found nothing. We did eventually set a cheesy trap. ( As of this morning, no diner )

We eventually went to sleep but I was constantly imagining little feet running all over me !!!! One thing I now realize is that Tigger is getting too much food. She should have sorted this little problem out. She possible did eat the neighbours' chicken and could not be bothered with this mouse...


Attempt number four....

All set...

Friday, 20 July 2012

Is something afoot ?

Tigger, was that you ?

Yesterday evening after having already showered and changed into my comfy jama's , I ventured outside to lock the gate. There was the odd time when we both forgot, so I try to do it when I think of it. So as we are the last house on our street, I did not think anyone would see me.

But as I was locking the chain, I saw Werner's car parked outside his workplace ( where the chickens are kept ) and suddenly another car screamed to a halt, parking rakishly. Intrigued I kept watching yet slouching behind the gate. It was Werner's son-in-law and his daughter. Werner had told me that his son-in-law was a cop in Vienna and I could see by the style of driving that it was him. Policemen all over the world have a distinct and exciting way of handling a car !

We fleetingly waved a greeting to each other but then they all went inside the chickens' playground. As I kept watching, they all looked around as if searching for something or someone. The chickens maybe ?

Oh, now I was worried that our Tigger had wanted something more to eat than the paltry, yet poultry flavoured pellets we give her. Could she have done the unthinkable ? As I was state of dress not conducive for chatting, I could not ask them what had happened. Today I will face that task. Hopefully the cute chickens are all accounted for. But if not, Bob and I will have to sit Tigger down and give her a lecture....

" Parenthood is not for the faint hearted ! "


Does this look like a chicken thief ?

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Cats and Chickens !

We were so chuffed with the way Tigger ( our feral cat ) was getting used to us and the mealtimes we set. Yes we tried to be strict parents ( watching so many " Supernanny " programs helped...). As you know, we even set our social calender around those early mealtimes.

But somehow, when all our guests arrived, we got out of our strict mealtime schedule. Somedays it would be an hour earlier or an hour later. That must have really confused Tigger and just like that our well cultivated schedule flew out the window ! For us as well as Tigger. There were times that we almost forgot to put out his bowl. Almost but not quite...

Now that all our visitors have left, we have tried to get him back on schedule. Mostly so that we can see him. Feral Cats aren't that social. But alas, she is extremely elusive, yet her bowl gets licked clean. Bob wonders if it is the Marten that he sees occasionally in our yard.

I wonder if the new addition to the neighbourhood ( check out the ' Waking up all his Ladies ' blog ) have not got a bigger lure and attraction for our little " teenager ". How can Tigger ignore the constant cackle of the chickens next door? Werner did put a big mesh around, but cats can get crafty.

Not sure what I would do if suddenly a lot of chicken feathers are outside our door ! Rats and mice are alright, but not those cute chickens from Werner...


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Signs of Intelligence ?

Reading is good for you !

The other day I read an interesting article on the Huffington Post. I have started to scour this online Newspaper daily and sometimes come across real Gems. Of course a few articles are anything but.

This heading literally jumped at me. " Smart Women read Romance Novels " ! Yes, wow, how liberating. Reading is one of my favourite pleasures and my tastes ranges across the board, but I do often lean a lot towards Romances. As some of my friends know, I even have the ones that they would not really read in public ( or at all ? ). Such as Georgette Heyer, Jilly Cooper and maybe an odd Mills&Boons.

I have always read them, but I must admit that more often than not I did not brag about a few of those reads. Mainly because a lot of women frown upon them. Although reading this article made me wonder if they maybe read them in private !

There is something so comforting about reading a romance novel. The outcome is always certain and the inbetween is fun. They should maybe do a study about this and more women would read romances in public. Mills&Boon are possible the most sold books in the world and I wonder how many women have them hidden about their homes...

Well even though some of these books can get graphic and steamy in their " bedroom scenes " descriptions, we women don't go as far as the men. I have heard about the urban myth that men hide their Playboy /Scope /Hustler behind the covers of a Economist /Times /Spiderman....Could this myth be true ? Let me know.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Elusive Mushrooms...

Early morning excursion !

Yesterday morning, just before six, as I was finishing of my blog, the phone rang. " Morning Biggi, come lets go and pick mushrooms. " It was my mum and we organized to meet at their house in twenty minutes. A tall order, as I still had to wake Bob, my darling husband / proof reader of my blog / light of my life and early morning grouch ! But cunningly I bribed him with a nice cup of coffee and we made it just in time.

So at 6.25am the four of us set off from my parents house. Albert as always had made my mum a cup of coffee. She sat drinking it in the backseat from a big lovely white porcelain cup. My mum does not like to spend money needlessly and thus had bypassed the whole drinking coffee out of those big ugly thermos containers, while driving. I must say it actually looks quiet cool and might set a trend. I have often met them on my morning walks ( when they're off to the vineyards ) with my mum sitting in the passenger seat drinking out of the white cup. Naturally I can imagine that when they have the odd disagreement, the brakes would be applied rather more sharply than usual...

We normally go to the same spot in the local forest to pick mushrooms. But due to instructions from the backseat, we took a different path... Well that little decision insured that we drove through,around and in the forest for an extra 20 minutes. Somehow any road in there looks like the next! But after some muttering and also some positive " at least we're sightseeing ", we arrived at our usual spot.

Suitably equipped with a bag and knife ( for cutting the mushroom stalk ) we each set off eagle eyed, in different directions. But alas, no mushrooms. Collectively we found none, not even a poisonous one! So we abandoned the idea after 20 minutes and set off for a leisurely but definitely quicker drive home to have a nice family breakfast.


Where to go...

Slightly disappointed !

Monday, 16 July 2012

Polish Food and Dance.


When we were at the Schinken Fest yesterday, we sat inside one of the tented eating areas and ordered a few different ham platters. They were laden with the different hams and breads. So we sat, rather towards the end of the tent, and ate while doing the usual people watching.

A few feet from us was another " Food " station. The ladies serving there had a traditional dress on and they had lots of foot traffic. As everyone there helped themselve to the different offerings, I assumed it was priced by weight. Until the lady sitting next to me said, " I have been watching the people and I think that food is for free. Look at that one lady in the checked shirt, she has been going back four times without paying ! "

Turns out she was right. Even though we had finished all the platters, Bob and I went to scout out the " Free " station. Wow, the food there was super. As we helped our selves to some more delectables, one of the ladies told us that this was authentic Polish fare. Her town in Poland was a " sister " town to Feldbach. Every year they have a table showcasing their food. If I can only say, it was extremely tasty and delicious. Bob and I went several times for refills !

There were a few teens sitting near us dressed in traditional clothing belonging to the polish delegation. When they got up to fetch their musical instruments and set up to perform, I wondered how long we'd have to stay. But then the trio started off with their songs. It was unbelievable how great and fabulous they sang. They performed song after song, that had the whole audience tapping their feet and humming along. I even wished that a TV talent judge could have been there to hear them...

Never judge a book by its cover !


Happy Eaters...

They sang incredibly

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Saturday Afternoon..

Little trip to Feldbach

My parents phoned at lunch time to ask if we would like to go with to a " Schinken Fest " ( Ham Feast ). They had seen the Ad in the paper and liked the sound of it. When I checked with Bob his eyes immeadeatly sparkled and his posture straightened up in eagerness....Well what can I say, Bob likes meat.

So off we went. The drive was rather longer than we thought ( 90mins ) but worth it. As I still don't drink, I knew that I was the chauffeur homeward and tried furiously to remember the way. For those of you who know our area, it will come as no surprise that a Schinken Fest will also have lots of Wine, Schnapps & Beer.

It was such a pleasant surprise getting there and seeing how much effort and care was put into the event. As we walked into the hall, there were tasting stations with the local farmers offering freshly sliced pieces of ham. In fact they were almost forcing it onto us. Bob did not know whether to laugh or cry-he was in ham-heaven. I suspect that next year he will take different T-Shirts with him, so that he can do the entrance over and over.....!

One eager farmer called me back to ask me where my accent was from and almost hand-feeding me another piece of ham. As he was rather dishy, Bob suddenly left his ham-station and was glued to my side muttering something unpleasant about the man. I was secretly pleased as punch for two reasons: Bob still loves me enough to forgo his ham.... and it showed me that I was not over the hill yet ( Women will understand this ).

Unfortunately I later saw that same Man, lets call him rather a Lothario, chatting up all and sundry. Which possible means that I am much closer to the summit of my hill than I realized !!!!!


My Bob...

Bob is really keen to get Lederhosen.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Very Fertile Land.

Kaleidoscope of Colors in the Fields.

Our area is mainly a wine producing one, but there are plenty of fields worked and planted. Most of the local farmers do both. Wine and agriculture - definitely a hard working bunch considering that the majority are just a Husband & Wife team, with the lucky few having their son's working with them. Their workday starts at sunrise and ends at sunset!

It was misty this morning and the sun was cloaked in a white see-through veil making everything appear more rural & romantic. I get such joy walking past the different fields. On one stretch of my walk there must be twenty fields back-to-back. There is always a field in full bloom, one being harvested, one turned and another being planted. The sheer color scheme of it all is overwhelmingly magical! How wonderful that they don't plant the same crop next to each other. Makes it so pleasing to the eye.

What I find funny though is that, in most of the fields there are weeds intermingled with crops along the edge of the path. How do they only get there and why are they mostly double in size to the crop? No wonder that I constantly have to pull weeds out of our garden...


Doesn't that look romantic ?

Fields of ...

My personal favourite. Reminds me of an old painting.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Waking up all his Ladies...

The New Noisy Neighbours.

Werner lives just three houses down from us and he used to be here only on weekends and holidays. But he retired this year and now lives here full time. We could not wish for a nicer neighbour. Last year, when we were new to all the customs and pitfalls he always stopped by to help. Personally I feel safer here, knowing he also was a policeman.

Now, Werner has a little plot across the road from us, where he stores his tools, tractor and all the odds and ends of a busy workman. Three weeks ago, he proudly told me, " Biggi, I got myself chickens "....

So now our country-living has got a new chapter ! Sporadically through out the day the " love " call gets sounded by the " chief " new neighbour....the rooster! He must have a tough day, as he starts rather early !! Is that to wake up his girls' and call them to duty or is it just to make sure I am awake ? Today he was a bit later than usual...5.15am.

I am hoping that he wakes everyone up with the sunrise ( Unless he has a little alarm clock stashed away!). So winter mornings will give me more leniency, hopefully. Now that I am used to him and the ladies, they almost fade into the background. Actually I rather enjoy having them as neighbours and at least they don't play loud music!!!

Does anyone know why a rooster crows so often during the day? Is it some kind of " manly " thing, ie a pre-warning to the ladies ?? If so, it is no wonder that they make themselves scarce during the day....


Are they trying to escape ?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

What is in a Name ?

A Rose by any other Name...

As I was sitting watching TV, something caught my attention. A name, that surely must have been momentous for the owner. It was a young man with the unfortunate name of " Condon ". Straight away I could imagining how his school career went and the possible misuse of his name. But he must be of sterling character because he did not add on " e " or drop an " n ", which would have eased the teasing! ( Of course I am just surmising. )

For me personally, it was no picnic either. Having a German name in an English speaking country, was cause for some confusion. Now her in Austria a " Birgit " is nothing special, in fact it is similar to a " Susan " in England. So imagine my surprise when I first started my Schooling in the English speaking S.A., when the teacher called out " Burger ". Was she talking to me ? Or " Burgee " as some of the kids used to name me !

Later out of school, I actually found my name to be an asset. Yes, as most people could not straight away pronounce it, they took the time to ask and speak to me about it. Surely I met lots more people through my name ? My parents, in hindsight, really picked well...

In today's world, parents are choosing some really strange names. Why would you name your child after a city/fruit/galaxy ? I am pretty sure, that most of those parents were burdened with a rather plain first name and thus want to live vicariously through their " aptly " named offspring...


Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Now I know I am not thirty anymore !!!

This morning someone posted a funny message on Facebook about how the people born in the 60's and 70's enjoyed life before & without computers! Fortunately or unfortunately I fall into this category ( I even did my end-of-school exam without calculators ). It made me think and also realize that our generation is getting to the stage, that always irritated us about our parents. Who remembers : " When I was young, I had to walk 10 km barefoot to school " or the classic " We went to the cinema/movies/bi-scope and bought sweets for just 10cents/shilling/bobs "...!

Every morning I sit here and write this blog with my desk facing the open window. There is always a crowd cheering or tweeting me on. Yes, there are lots of birds outside. I am not sure if their early morning bickering and conversations wakes me up, but it is always there as background music.

It is almost as if they perform a musical for me. They dive-bomb each other at full speed and sound, or they sit on the roof together catching up on the days news. One did a hovering stunt, flapping his wings at supersonic speed. Just now another one cheekily sat on my windowsill looking at me and reminding me to continue watching their playtime! A few frolic a little bit to much with each other almost prompting me to say " Hey guys, it's not a spectator sport...get a tree! "

The names of the different types of birds are still foreign to me. Which gladdens my heart as it means I am not at that age yet. Also, I have not ( yet ) bought a ornithology book nor binoculars....

But I am definitely not thirty anymore, because it takes a few decades before you notice bird life ! ( obviously for men it is different )


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sally, what a Dog !

Doesn't this warm the cockles of your heart ?

My sister-in-law Signe, told me this story. Just to set your mind at rest, she lives in the country side of Denmark and it is very safe there.

Last Sunday, Signe, Di ( ..year old mother-in-law ), Josephine ( her 9yr old daughter ) and Samuel ( her 5yr old son ) took Sally (9 month old Lab ) for a walk. So off they set, walking or maybe rather ambling along because of the little ones. Now their neck of the woods is more flat than hilly, thus walking is a little bit easier. But not for some!

Josephine, being more sedately dispositioned, did the usual not far into the walk. " I am tired.... ", to which Signe replied " Well, you know how to get back home. We will see you when we get back." So, Josephine delightedly went back home ( Skylanders waiting ? ).

About 10min later the next one starts ( No, not Di ), " Mummy, I don't want to walk ". So as they were next to a farmhouse, Signe told him " Samuel, just wait here for us, we will be back in just a few minutes. " So Samuel happily sat down and rested.

Signe and Di carried on walking and chatting, while Sally was off the leash. At some stage Signe realized that Sally had disappeared. Wondering if she was in hot pursuit of a rabbit or some such, they turned around to look for her. As they got within sight of where Samuel was waiting, they saw that Sally was sitting right next to him ! Wow, Sally had on her own accord returned to sit with Samuel, even forgoing the delicious smells and attractions of the country side...!

Wow, that just warms my heart. This beautiful dog who is still a " small child " herself, dropped everything to look out for her Samuel. Don't forget that kids sometimes play too rough with dogs, but she has forgiven each additional pull on her tail...

They say that dogs take after their owner, and they are right !


Isn't she adorable...

Monday, 9 July 2012

Nature's Draw !

Different Form of Entertainment

Every morning at about five in the Summer and about six in the winter, I go for a 7km walk. As I am a creature of habit, it is always the same walk and I somehow measure my progress by how much I puff up the hill.

Of course the scenery is just breathtaking, especially when the sun just lifts its head on the horizon. All seasons are beautiful but I think summer is special. Nature has such a grounding and soothing effect. Problems seem to lessen when I go for my walk. Living in a big city can get hectic and we often forget to go back to or through nature.

As I walk the same route, it is so fascinating to see the different fruits go through their life cycle. Right now the grapes have grown to the size of raisins but are still very green. Most mornings I see the farmers working in their vineyards and it is always great to exchange a " Hello ". The apples on the various trees are showing themselves abundantly and the pears are developing their drooping form. In a few weeks time I can have snacks along the way...

The wild flowers are fabulous. Luscious purple mixed with pristine white all in a bed of green with the odd bit of yellow. Amongst all this splendor there often hops a big rabbit or even a deer or two.

Life here in Burgenland is magical!


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Heat Wave

Golly Gosh, it is hot!

Who would have thought that moving from South-Africa to Austria, we would have such hot weather. I know, that when we first got here, when it was cooler, people always used to ask me about S.A. and I always told them how glad I am to not have such hot weather...well, it has followed me!

Our house is an old farmhouse with 60cm thick walls. We have no air conditioning, but each morning from 5-6pm we open all the windows, and the same procedure at night. During all other times all our windows and doors are closed ( curtains drawn ). Supposedly it keeps us cool for the day. But how can you disprove such a thing? All I know is that by the end of the day, I crave fresh air....!

When you drive around during the day here in Eisenberg, it looks like a ghost town. Each house has its shutters closed. In the beginning I thought that each house was forsaken and maybe for sale.

The other night, we had all the windows open ( and the front gate! ), lights off and TV on. I was lying on the pulled out couch in my pyjamas, and Bob was playing on the computer. At about 9.30 pm, in the middle of watching a Murder Story on the box, a stranger stuck his head through our window " Hi, do you know where your neighbour is? " Well, I thought I was going to have a stroke! A little bit frightened and embarrassed ( in my pyjamas! ) I hopped about looking for a phone number. All the while, the stranger just leaned on our window sill and waited.

When we got him the number he went away, and Bob and I waited 2 seconds and locked our gates and shut our windows...This taught me two things: This is a safe place to live, and to always wear a bra when the windows are open...


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Different Techniques

Grilling the Danish way

Last Tuesday, Brett organized the Grill-Evening for us to meet all his friends. It was such fun to meet everyone. But the most amazing thing happened during the evening.

I had just finished making a salad and went outside to mingle with the crowd, when I happened to glance at Brett standing in front of his Weber-grill. At first I thought he was doing a skit of some sort ( Brett is the eternal joker ), but when I looked again he studiously carried on!

What was so eye-catching? Well, I am used to the rugged, manly and slightly Neanderthal-like way of Grilling. South-African men really have perfected the art of Grilling in the outdoors. I imagine that they can cook a steak and sausage with just a few sticks and two stones....! So imagine my reaction, when I saw Brett wielding his Grilling pitchfork with hands that were encased in a long pair of " Mittens ".

Is that how it happens in Denmark? Well, I must say, that Brett is a good sport, because he got a real " grilling " from me about this. His explanation of how the Mitten protects his hands makes sense, but I still prefer the way that Bob does it!

It just dawned on me why all of Brett's friends did not make fun of his " Mittens ". They most likely each have a pair!!!


The Mitten King

My Bob..

Friday, 6 July 2012

Return Trip to Burgenland

What a journey!

I thought that Europe, compared to South-Africa, is rather small in size. Boy was I wrong... we drove back from Denmark yesterday, and we just drove & drove & drove! Actually we crossed three different countries and it took us 17 hours.

But what made it all worthwhile ( apart from seeing our family ), was the stunning scenery. Just starting off in Denmark. My eyes were darting constantly from side to side trying to take it all in. Germany, which we saw from top to bottom, has beauty everywhere. And don't let me get started about my Austria!!!!

This move to Austria has had so many wonderful new experiences for us. We are now closer to Brett and family ( okay, it is a bit of a drive ) and we have already driven and seen two other countries and we have driven on European Highways.

Actually Bob has done the driving and yours truly the navigating. Might I say that I actually did it well, as we did not get lost and had no animated discussions about left or right turns. Yes, we are about the only ones on this planet who Do Not use a GPS direction system. What is the big deal? Reading a map for directions is easy, keeps you awake and gives you the greatest feeling of achievement. Of course only if you get to the right destination...

And a wife can take liberties about the language used, that a GPS would not dare...!


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Time warp.

Midmorning Danish!

The kids had to both go to the doctor this morning and because their Granny is here, she went along. Bob was driving and Brett was psyching himself for the " treat " of taking them for injections.

So Harry and I stayed at home, watching TV. Quite funny trying to understand it in danish ( But Brett is lucky, as most english language shows only have subtitles ). So while flipping through the channels we stumbled upon " Dallas ". Watching it took both of us back in time. Some characters we remembered by name and others were strange. But we both wondered what had us glued to the TV each Tuesday evening? And those hairstyles ? Did we really wear those ( and horror of horror, are we still wearing them ?)

Well today is our last day here with Brett, Signe, Di, Harry and the kids. Time always gallops when it's nice. As sad as our " Goodbyes " will be tomorrow, it will be better knowing that Di and Harry have now got a holiday with Brett and family. Airports are never fun when " adieu " are involved!

We are taking a different route home. Bob has printed out the directions and I will mainly be navigating. Let's hope we don't bicker to much about roads not taken...


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A little bit of home.

B.B.Q - Denmark style...

It is really so good to stay here with Brett & Signe and see them in their daily " sphere ". For all those years Bob and Brett have been living on different continents and really never had the chance to " Hang out " at each others' houses. Now that we live in Austria, Bob and I are catching up on hanging out with his big brother!

Yesterday Brett phoned a lot of his friends for an impromptu B.B.Q. at his house. Even on a workday ten of his friends came to meet us. Everyone brought a salad or something and soon we had a typical B.B.Q.,with the men outside " tending " to the fire and the ladies inside in the kitchen to " prepare ", but really to have a good chance to catch up on news,happenings and possible a bit of grumble about their husbands' habits...

The most amazing thing happened when we had all eaten. There was, of course, a mountain of dishes and I was gearing myself up to sort them out, when I happenend to glance up and look through the kitchen window. All the men, with Brett in the lead, were standing over and next to the sink washing and clearing up! These wives are geniuses....I must still find out if this only happens here in Denmark or if it is an European trait....

Despite not being allowed to wash the dishes, I had the most wonderful time and it was so fabulous to see and meet such a nice group of friends.

I will post pictures when we home again on Friday, so please come and check out these few blog pages again.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Denmark after Sunrise.

Early morning walks, the world over!

This is my third morning here in Denmark, and even here, I wake up at 4.45am. It doesn't matter what time I go to bed. Brett and Family have this lovely nearly grown Puppy, called Sally. She is a gorgeous black Labrador and already waits outside our bedroom for our early morning excursions. As this is her neck of the woods, she more or less is in charge of directions!!! ( I sometimes wonder if breadcrumbs would be helpful to find my way back again ).

Denmark has got such magic countrysides, that it soothes the soul. Just walking alongside the wheat fields with the early morning fog rising from them is special. Sally often stopped to smell a message from the verge and at first it was annoying to always stop until I realized that I got a chance to take in the view...

In Denmark, when your dog does it's business while going for a constitutional walk, you have to pick up the offering and throw it away at home. Dear Sally did not disappoint me. She made sure that I would experience that little " treat "! Of course I was suitably equipped with small plastic bags. Luckily for me, she only did this halfway into our walk, as it is not so pleasant walking with a swinging " Poo " bag and its aromas...

I do miss my Burgenland, though!


Monday, 2 July 2012

Play Vouchers Are Free & The Best Presents For Kids.

Who is having more Fun

We drove with Di and Harry across Europe to visit Bob's brother Brett and his family. The car trip was long but nice,and has given me so many good blog stories....

We knew that the first thing any kid wants when they have family visiting, is to see the presents ! This year, as you know, our finances are a bit stretched and thus we came up with an idea that was " priceless ". We designed gift vouchers ( 8 each ) that entitles the bearer to 30 min of one on one playtime. Anywhere, anytime and anyhow.

So, when we arrived there was a mountain of presents from the grand parents and family. At some stage Bob and I gave our Vouchers to the kids, knowing how tough it was to compete with Skylanders etc...and wondering if we would have any impact?

Well, about 20 min in while talking to my sister-in-Law, the first voucher was handed to me! So, I stopped talking mid-sentence to go and play with my niece. She tried to cram so many games into those 30 min and I tried valiantly to keep up and be " With it "

Apparently we have trumped the Skylanders - Yoohoo! -One day on, 6 of the vouchers have been used and I am just grateful that I have not been pulled from the Loo ( I make sure that I lock the bathroom door ...)

I have learned a valuable lesson about what is important. Just seeing the joy on the kids faces, knowing that they have our undivided attention, was so special.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Green Nectar

Pumpkin Seed Oil - what a treat.

When you come here on holiday you will see a strange but beautiful sight. Fields of Orange. Huge Pumpkins as far as the eye can see. A lot of the local farmers grow them to make Pumpkin Seed oil.

Before coming to Burgenland, or rather Eisenberg, I never even knew that Pumpkin Seed Oil existed. Strangely enough it has the most wonderful green colour once processed. But the taste is just so different from what I imagined, nutty and smooth.

The local Buschenschanks serve it mostly on their salads, or you can dip fresh bread into a bowl mixed with garlic and it even tastes great on your morning Muesli.

Legend has it that it is good for Men and also increases their....drive.

I recently told this local legend to one half of a couple and she sort of begged me not to tell her husband !!!

Last year family came to visit and took home a bottle of Pumpkin Seed oil because they liked the taste of it. Knowing this, I asked them if I could bring a bottle or two when we visit them this year. But the wife actually was rather hesitant and evaded the question outright. The husband then went to look in the larder and told us that they still had most of the bottle. " Oh, I just wanted to savour & save it, as we can't get it here ", came the wifes' reply...

Obviously the husband had not hear of the Legend, and could it possibly be true ???

Eisenberg is definitely the place to be.